Frank: Censorship at the WSJ

House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) took the unusual step Tuesday of releasing an op-ed piece he claimed in a press statement that the Wall Street Journal refused to run. At issue is a Sept. 9 opinion piece published by the Journal’s editors that called Frank “Fannie Mae’s Patron Saint.” In the story, the Journal editors write: “Mr. Frank wants you to pick up the tab for its failures, while he still vows to block a reform that might prevent the same disaster from happening again.” Frank claims that the “editorial was factually inaccurate,” and said Tuesday that he “subsequently drafted response correcting the numerous errors and engaging the ideological issues where the Journal editorial staff and I have long standing differences of opinion.” The Journal allegedly agreed to run his response, to hear Frank tell it. But, to date, they haven’t — so Frank took the step yesterday of calling out the Journal for censorship and publishing his response himself. “The Journal’s actions indicate a narrowness of vision and a refusal to entertain contrary opinions that amount to censorship,” Frank said. “More importantly, they rob their readers and the broader public of the opportunity to form their own views about issues that currently roil our financial; market place and the resolution of which will have a profound effect on our economic future.” (To which we’d like to let Mr. Frank know that we’re always open to publishing op-eds, and I’m pretty sure the WaPo, NY Times and the Financial Times would have done the same.) Beyond the brouhaha over publishing and censorship, what’s telling is just how political the issue of housing and reform really has become; here at HW, we’ve insisted for at least the past 8 months that the nation’s presidential election will swing on mortgages and the broader financial markets. It’s taken time to be proven correct on that point, but it seems self-evident at this point. Read Frank’s full response to the Journal’s editorial here.

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